‘Divergent’ Author Signs New Book Deal

Now that the Divergent series is good and done, the books’ author Veronica Roth is starting on a new project.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Roth has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins. The series’ books are expected to be released in 2017 and 2018. We don’t know much right now about what the books will be about. What we do know is that it will follow a boy’s “unlikely alliance” with an enemy. Apparently her idea for the series started initially with the character, and the rest came afterwards.

I don’t know about you, but as a big fan of the Divergent series, I’m excited to see what else Veronica Roth has up her sleeve!

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E-Book Streaming Services Expand

As web sites like Netflix and Spotify continue to expand, so do e-book streaming sites.

According to Entertainment Weekly, two e-book streaming start-ups, Scribd and Oyster, have struck up a partnership with publishing company Macmillan. Considering Macmillan is one of the largest publishing companies out there, this is great news for the start-ups. It means many, many more e-books and audiobooks are now available to Scribd and Oyster.

Both Scribd and Oyster offer hundreds of thousands of books for a $9 or $10 monthly fee, similar to Netflix.

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Movie vs. Book: Still Alice

It takes a lot for a brilliant college professor like Alice Howland to forget her words in the midst of a big speech. But she does. It takes even more for her to get lost just blocks from her home in the middle of her regular run. But she does. It’s then that Alice decides to go for testing. And it’s then — at the ripe age of 49 — that Alice learns she is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. It doesn’t feel like suffering then. But it does soon, after she clues in her husband and three grown children.

Still Alice tells the story of Alice and her family as they cope with the disease over the next few months. Two of Alice’s children use that time to take a test to determine whether they have the gene associated with the disease — one does, one does not. Alice’s husband spends a lot of that time away from Alice. Her youngest daughter is the one that uses this time to get to know her mother, especially since their relationship has always been somewhat strained.

The movie Still Alice does not stray far from the book. In fact, the way it’s filmed beautifully parallels the way the book is written. In the book, author Lisa Genova writes from Alice’s point of view. As the novel continues, the writing becomes more and more disorganized and confusing to keep in line with Alice’s brain and the effect Alzheimer’s has on it. In much the same way, part of the movie includes blurry, hazed shots — to help show what things look like through Alice’s mind. The movie also becomes disorganized toward the end. Certain plot points are not told to the viewer. We, instead, must figure it out ourselves, similar to the way an Alzheimer’s patient who can’t make sense of things would have to do. It’s messy. There are gaps in time. But that’s what it’s like inside the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient.

It goes without saying that Julianne Moore’s performance as Alice is both breathtaking and heartbreaking. She portrays that hazy glaze effortlessly — showing that Alzheimer’s is much more than just forgetfulness; it’s a state of desperate confusion and incapability to understand. It is difficult to see onscreen how careless some of her family members are, and Alice’s oldest daughter (Kate Bosworth) and husband (Alec Baldwin) portray that well. However, in the book, her husband does a lot of research on Alzheimer’s and still has a hard time coping. In the movie, we don’t see any of the research or willingness to try to understand. We mostly see her husband giving up on trying altogether.

But what both the movie and book have in common is the power to raise awareness, the power to make us feel, and the power to — hopefully — make a change.

Get Still Alice in paperback for 2.97.

Or on your Kindle for $6.99.

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Review: Amazon Burning

Recap: When a traumatic and potentially life-ruining legal matter threatens Emma Cohen’s shot at finishing college, she takes a sabbatical — which isn’t really much of a sabbatical at all — interning for the newspaper her father works for during a summer in Rio De Janeiro. It starts out fun, but quickly becomes dramatic when a famous environmentalist is suddenly murdered.

She flies with her father to the Amazon to cover Milton Silva’s suspicious death and funeral. Along the way, she meets a good-looking photographer, Jimmy, but because of her ongoing legal battle in New York, she must keep her hands off. Emma decides to focus on the story of Milton Silva and — together with Jimmy — begins to investigate.

But the deeper they dig, the more they come across crime and suspicious activity. Add to that the craziness and chaos of Amazonian weather and and you’ve got yourself a crazy thriller-adventure with a little romance mixed in.

AnalysisAmazon Burning starts off strong. There’s a mysterious murder. There’s a college girl, with a secret of her own, working to uncover all the details. There’s a sexy man, a sexy location and a sexy summer season. But the story itself doesn’t exactly live up to the hype.

As Emma and Jimmy get deeper and deeper into their investigation, they open up, and we finally learn what Emma’s secret is. But their investigation doesn’t go as far as they’d like. They get closer and closer, but ultimately reach several dead ends. As it turns out, the biggest plan they coordinate winds up screwing up a federal investigation that’s going on at the same time.

As much I wanted to root for them, their inability to solve the case made it hard. Then I got to thinking — why would they even try to solve it? As a journalist, I understand the job of a reporter, and of course, were one to come across a case that they thought they could solve, that’s great. But more likely than not, reporters are following cases and  reporting on them, not solving them themselves. That’s the job of an officer or detective. The journalist aspect story seemed far-fetched, especially by involving a college student. And when Emma and Jimmy wind up failing anyway, it makes the story that much more unfulfilling.

Get Amazon Burning in paperback for $9.74.

Or on your Kindle for $4.99.

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Lost Dr. Seuss Books To Be Released Soon

It’s been more than 20  years since the famed children’s author died, but Dr. Seuss’s (real name: Theodor Geisel) wife and friend will be releasing some of his recently discovered lost manuscripts as soon as this summer.

According to The Wall Street Journalthe author’s wife and former secretary found the manuscripts in Geisel’s office, complete with some black-and-white illustrations, in 2013. The first release will be What Pet Should I Get, due out on July 28th. The book includes characters from Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

At least another two books are expected, but publishers have not announced dates or titles.

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Movie vs. Book: Fifty Shades of Grey

Contributed by: Christine Anderson

“More” is a word that echoes so much through the book Fifty Shades of Grey and its film adaptation. Fifty Shades follows the journey of a young, naïve college student named Anastasia Steele, who’s on the verge of graduation and starting a new life. Instead of typical post-grad problems, Ana stumbles into a man and a relationship that prove more daunting than finding a job. Christian Grey beguiles Ana. He is immensely attractive, and for the first time in her life, she wants to be kissed. In fact, she wants “more” with him. But falling in love isn’t always “hearts and flowers,” and Christian isn’t your typical boyfriend. He’s a well-known, billionaire CEO whose lifestyle is bizarre, scary and confusing.

The story isn’t just “mommy eroticism” as some have speculated. If the story were solely about a dominant/submissive relationship, it would not have the worldwide acclaim and support it has today. The story shows that love isn’t always simple. It isn’t always about making easy choices. You have to ask yourself what you are willing to change, give up, perhaps even open yourself up to for the person you love.

With a phenomena like Fifty Shades of Grey and the controversy and awe that goes with it, the next step — naturally — is a film adaption. But this isn’t your typical screenplay transformation. This project had the possibility to be a lose-lose scenario when you consider the disappointment dedicated fans could potentially face if the movie was not handled properly, as well as the countless moral, religious, judgmental groups that would be chomping at the bit to condone its very existence. As an educated Fifty Shades fan, I consider the film a tremendous success.

While significantly trimmed down from the book, the movie says so much more than the dialogue on screen, speaking volumes about the story and the relationship between Christian and Ana by not speaking at all. Jamie Dornan proves a master of the closed-off, guarded Christian Grey, conveying pages of dialogue with a series of looks. Christian Grey, at his center, is an often unreadable persona. Reactions of a “lack of chemistry” between the stars demonstrate the lack of understanding that comes from knowing the character of Christian Grey. This is a man who doesn’t understand love. He’s damaged and broken. Key components and quotes from the book were not left out, and fans should feel very satisfied.

As both a fan of the series and someone who understands the moviemakers’ desire for a large profit, the ending was perfection. You are not meant to feel at peace after this movie because that’s not how their story is. It’s wrapped in ups and downs and a lot of layers and this movie needed to set the stage for everything that comes down the line, and it did that perfectly. The movie is witty, and Dakota Johnson (Ana/Anastasia Steele) was perfect for the role. She brought comedic timing to an often dark story and lightened the mood many times. Jamie Dornan brings Christian to life. He is the perfect combination of steely and endearing. Fifty Shades of Grey was made for the fans, and that shows. If you know the story you can’t help but love this movie. People will judge what they do not understand. I never imagined I’d be a part of something so doused in controversy, but I am extremely hopeful that reviews like this take the stigma and the shame out of this story that shows love isn’t always black and white; sometimes it’s grey and on even rarer occasions it’s “fifty shades” of grey.

Get Fifty Shades of Grey in paperback for $8.97.

Or on your Kindle for $2.99.

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‘Casual Vacancy’ Lingerie Shop Causing Controversy

It wasn’t too long ago that I reported J.K. Rowling’s first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, was being adapted into a BBC miniseries, set to air in the U.S. in the next few months. It seems that the miniseries is now causing a bit of an uproar in a small English town.

According to Entertainment Weekly, a lingerie shop was built for the set of The Casual Vacancy in Painswick. The Casual Vacancy centers around a parish council, and now people in the village of Painswick are making complaints to their actual parish council about the lingerie shop, as Megan Daley explains:

“They complained about it at the local parish council meeting,” the show’s director, Jonny Campbell, told The Telegraph at a screening of the first episode at BAFTA. “They said it was a disgrace on the one hand, but on the other a couple of little old ladies with white hair came walking past, looking in the window, and said ‘we’ve already got all that stuff.’

Not going to lie…kind of love this story.

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